California Rep. Linda Sánchez is dropping out of the race for Democratic Caucus chair, citing an “unexpected family matter” that requires her attention.
“While I will not continue to serve in an official leadership position next year, I look forward to continuing my service to the people of California’s 38th District and doing the important work of the Committee on Ways and Means,” she wrote in a letter informing her colleagues of her decision to withdraw. “Our new caucus chair can count on my full support and I intend to remain a resource for new and returning members.”
Sánchez’s announcement comes the same day as New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries entered the race.
For months Sánchez and California Rep. Barbara Lee had been the only two candidates running for caucus chair. The two had previously run against each other for caucus vice chair in 2016, a race that Sánchez won by two votes.
Sánchez said in her letter Wednesday that serving as vice chair has been one of the greatest privileges of her career and that she had hoped to leverage the skills and experiences she had developed in that role to be an effective caucus chair.
“Having served in leadership for the past two years I appreciate that the position has important responsibilities requiring extraordinary time and effort,” she said. “Unfortunately, an unexpected family matter requiring my attention compels me to withdraw my name as a candidate for chair of the Democratic Caucus.”
Having just Jeffries and Lee in the race puts an extra spotlight on the Congressional Black Caucus. This ensures that the group will be able to elevate more of their members into leadership, as they wanted, but means the caucus will have to choose between two of their own.